The Celtics signed a pair of undrafted free agents Wednesday in Jalen Jones and Damion Lee, bringing their training camp roster to 20, the maximum number a team can bring to camp. The deals was first reported by RealGM.

Jones, a 6-foot-7 forward, spent two seasons at SMU before transferring to Texas A&M for his final two seasons. During his senior year with the Aggies, Jones averaged 15.3 points per game with 7.2 rebounds alongside a 42.5 field goal percentage. Jones spent the summer league in Las Vegas with the Raptors.

The 6-foot-6 guard Lee finished his college career at Louisville for a season after beginning with Drexel. His senior season with the Cardinals, Lee averaged 15.9 points per game, with 1.5 steals, 3.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. He played for Miami in both the Orlando and Las Vegas summer leagues.

Per The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach, the deals are not guaranteed, which now makes four non-guaranteed deals for the Celtics, with Ben Bentil and Marcus Georges-Hunt sharing similar contract situations. Bringing all four to camp will entitle the Celtics to the players’ D-League rights.

Here’s a look at the roster the Celtics will take to training camp when it begins on Sept. 26, barring a trade or a cut.

GuardsAvery Bradley, Marcus Georges-Hunt, R.J. Hunter, Demetrius Jackson, Damion Lee, Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, Isaiah Thomas, James Young

Forwards/centers: Ben Bentil, Jaylen Brown, Jae Crowder, Gerald Green, Al Horford, Jonas Jerebko, Amir Johnson, Jalen Jones, Jordan Mickey, Kelly Olynyk, Tyler Zeller

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen

Brad Stevens

Brad Stevens

Despite the seemingly constant drama surrounding the Celtics this offseason, head coach Brad Stevens has been surprisingly quiet. At the ABCD Hoops for Hope event at the TD Garden on Tuesday, Stevens opened up about a number of things that defined this offseason.

And though he’s been quiet, it hasn’t stopped him from planning constantly and paying mind to the outlook of the upcoming season.

“I think as a coach, you get away a little bit, but at some point you’re antsy to get back at it,” Stevens told reporters. “So maybe re-writing the third version of what you’re doing? I don’t know. You think about it all year. I’m just going to be ready for September 27th. Ever since the end of July I’ve had a pretty good idea of what we’re going to look like as a team and who’s going to help us in what way. It’s just a matter now of putting the pieces together and hopefully playing well”

The Celtics that fell in the first round of the 2016 postseason, though similar, will have some major changes. There was the addition of big man Al Horford, former Celtic Gerald Green, as well as No. 3 draft pick Jaylen Brown. 

With such additions, there’s been incessant changes to the outlook of the roster and thus the approach the team will have to take.

“I think you’re always tweaking and changing and you’re always making adjustments,” he said, “But I think you have to put a lot of time and thought into what your new guys have done well, how that plays within what you’ve done or if you need to change some of what you’ve done to fit them better. You go through that, and you make sure you come up with a plan that fits everybody the best to bring out all of their best strengths.”

Defense was never an issue for the Celtics in 2015-16.

One of the top defensive teams in the league last season with the likes of Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley, the Celtics are poised to continue to be a defensive force.

“You know I think we have to become a lot more efficient offensively,” Stevens said. “But the problem with that is once you emphasize one thing you can’t slack in another area, so the game is always going to come down to not turning it over and get the best shot that you can and making sure that you’re a good, consistent [team] in the way that you play effort-wise and focus-wise in the defensive end of the floor, and that’s not going to change. The game is pretty simple when you break it down like that. There are little things that I think we need to do a lot better. We’re going to have to be better this season than we were to finish where we did. I think the east is better, so we’ll find out. Time will tell.”

The biggest splash the Celtics made this season was the addition of Horford. Coming off an All-Star season with the Hawks in which he put up 15.2 points per game with 7.3 boards and 1.5 blocks, the 30-year-old will address more needs than one for the C’s.

But what he’s proven over the course of his nine years of NBA service is his ability to lead, which was incredibly apparent to the Hawks during his time there, but especially noticeable to the Celtics during their dismantling at the hands of Atlanta during the postseason.

“The one thing about Al is, he’s very comfortable in who he is,” Stevens said. “And he knows that he’s going to impact the game defensively in a good way. He know’s he’s going to do it offensively in a good way. And all he’s ever really cared about is winning. I’ve said this about only a few guys before, but winning is enough for him. And he’s clearly proven that over the years, and that’s what makes him a really, really special addition for us is that he can do all those things at a very good level, scoring, defend, everything else, but he impacts others and empowers others. So we’ll see how long it takes to get him engrained in it, but he’s a good fit for how we play.”

Also flying under the radar were the signings of Green and the re-upping of center Tyler Zeller.

Since being drafted by the Celtics in 2005 and playing his first two seasons with the Celtics, Zeller has proven to be a reliable source of shooting during his nine NBA seasons that has featured him dressing for eight different teams.

With the Heat last season, Green averaged 8.9 points with a 39.2 field goal percentage.

“I’ve been a big Gerald Green fan because I’ve been scared of him, and I think that that’s a great way to figure out how good a player is when you go into the game,” Stevens said. “He’s on your scouting report maybe in a highlighted way because he can go off for a lot of points in a short amount of time. He can change the course of the game. Does he do it every night, historically? No. But he’s had moments and times where he has done that. So I think he brings a spurtability to us that we clearly needed from a scoring standpoint.”

Zeller has had fluctuations in minutes since being dealt to the Celtics entering the 2014 season. His first season with the C’s, he played in every game, starting 59, but started just three games last season in his 60 appearances.

Regardless of minutes, Zeller has often been a reliable source of rebounding and help in the low post.

“We’ve talked about Tyler’s consistency and approach regardless of minutes” Stevens said. “He’s been a great pro, and he’s had great moments here both as a player and as a teammate and we’re thrilled that he’s back.”

But a noticeable hole will be the departure of Evan Turner to the Trailblazers. Turner was sometimes a saving grace for the Celtics, but other times was a liability.

Regardless, he was a valuable six man that is leaving quite the gap as he heads west.

“Listen that’s going to be a tough role to fill. He was a heck of a player for us, he made huge plays at the end of games. He made big, big shots. His shooting percentages were not always great, but when the game was on the line and the clock was winding down, you felt like it had a good chance of going in. He made free throws late in games and he guarded two or three positions,” Stevens said. “Time will tell, we’ll find out, we’ve got a lot of guys that will get an opportunity to step up to fill his void, and it is a void. But that’s the beautiful part of our team is, we’ll find out what guys strengths are and try to piece them all together.”

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen

Avery Bradley

Avery Bradley

With the new look of the Celtics beginning to mold, the “Big Three” era is more and more quickly starting to feel like a thing of the past. And that’s not just a figment of the imagination.

The only player on the current roster to have played with Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce is now-seventh-year pro Avery Bradley.

Who else was on that roster in 2011-12 Celtics who haven’t quite survived? Try E’Twaun Moore, JaJuan Johnson and Marquis Daniels among others.

But now 25 years old and the longest tenured member of the Celtics, Bradley has become one of the most prominent leaders on the team, despite his generally quiet disposition.

“Lead by example,” said Bradley in an interview with Celtics.com’s Marc D’Amico when asked to describe his leadership role with the C’s. “I don’t really speak that much. I just try to be professional on and off the court, and hopefully everybody follows.”

The 6-foot-2 shooting guard has already taken on quite a role on both ends of the court for the Celtics. He averaged 15.2 points per game last season and was stout on defense, averaging 1.5 steals per game while shutting down some of the league’s top offensive players in the process.

His defensive play led to a spot on the NBA first all-defensive team in 2015-16. And now he said the next step up is to become the defensive player of the year, comments he has since doubled down on.

Bradley played two seasons with “The Big Three”, taking notes along the way at just 18 and 19 years old during that time frame. With that experience now, he knows that the remarkably young team that will be around him this season is in a sense looking in the same thing from him that he did seven seasons ago.

“I was just able to listen to them,” said Bradley. “KG and those guys, they told me what I needed to do to be successful and I would listen to those guys because I wanted to be like them. I knew what it would take for me to stick in the NBA, and that was making sure I was always on time and all of those things.”

Added Bradley: “I can’t preach something that I’m not doing,” he said. “That’s the thing about it – all of my teammates see me being professional, so I hope they’ll do the same.”

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen

Paul Pierce has not yet solidified his plans for the upcoming season, but if retirement is that decision, Pierce’s most recent (and most familiar) coach is encouraging him to do so as a member of the Celtics.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce has not yet solidified his plans for the upcoming season, but if retirement is that decision, Pierce’s most recent (and most familiar) coach is encouraging him to do so as a member of the Celtics.

At Tuesday’s annual ABCD Hoops Dream fundraiser at TD Garden, Clippers coach Doc Rivers spoke to ESPN’s Chris Forsberg about the future of arguably the most prized player to wear green since the turn of the millennium, and he said Pierce should sign a one-day contract with the Celtics when he decides to hang up his sneakers.

“I think it’s important. I think we have to do that. And I think we will,” Rivers said. “Danny [Ainge] and [assistant GM] Mike [Zarren], we’ve already talked. The day he retires, he’s going to retire a Celtic. He has to. Paul’s a Celtic. So when he retires, he’s got to retire as a Celtic. I don’t think anyone disagrees with me.”

Should he return, Pierce will be playing in his 19th NBA season, 15 of which were with the Celtics. Last season with the Clippers was an underwhelming one, as the 38-year-old averaged just 6.1 points over 18.1 minutes per game.

“Paul didn’t have the best year last year. I don’t think he wants to go out that way. So I think that’s why he’s working to try to come back,” Rivers said. “But he still may change his mind next week. So we just have to wait. I told him if I see him at training camp, I’m assuming he’s playing.”

Rivers, who coached the Celtics from 2004 until 2013, when he left for the Clippers, said Pierce could still play at a high level should he come back.

“If I don’t think they can play, then I tell them that. But I think Paul can play,” Rivers said. “I don’t know how much he’ll play, but he can play. I’ve always thought it’s easy for someone else to tell you to retire; I think that’s something that the player has to come to by himself.”

In his frequent discussions with Pierce this offseason, Rivers said he’s heard different things about Pierce’s plan for 2016-17.

“Depends on the day I talk to him. Paul has had the summer, he’s gone back and forth,” Rivers said. “I think he has a right to do that. I really do.”

Rivers said he plans to speak with Pierce later this week but is not expecting a definitive answer.

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown is gearing up for his NBA debut by working out with one of the best shooting guards in the league. 

Brown posted a video on Twitter of himself working out with Bulls All-Star Jimmy Butler over the weekend. The video shows the C’s first-round pick running a leg drill with help from the Bulls guard.

Back in June, Butler complimented Brown during an appearance on Bill Simmons’ podcast, stating the young prospect reminded him of himself after playing him one-on-one back in June.  

Brown spoke to reporters in New York after the draft about the intense game he had with Butler. 

“We went tooth and nail at it. … I guess he thought it would be easy, and then somebody won the first game and then he wanted to keep going,” Brown told reporters in New York. “And so we kept going after that, then he won the second, then he won the third, then I won the fourth, and we ended up playing all the way to 21.”

Butler — who reportedly was targeted as a trade possibility by the Celtics this summer — is getting ready for a highly anticipated season with the Bulls. After winning a gold medal with Team USA at the Rio Olympics, Butler will be teaming up with new teammates Dwyane Wade and former Celtic Rajon Rondo.

Blog Author: 
Josue Pavon

The Celtics announced Wednesday afternoon that they waived shooting guard John Holland. Above all else, it was more of a courtesy to the 6-foot-5 Holland, who was very much at the bottom of the C’s totem pole and highly unlikely to make the final roster.

A source told Celticsblog that the 27-year-old has offers in both the United States and Europe.

From The Bronx, the swingman played at Boston University, then going overseas before making a return to the United States, signing with the Canton Charge of the D-League on December 23, 2015. He signed a non-guaranteed two-year deal with the Celtics in April, and appeared in just one game: the second game of the Celtics playoff series against the Hawks, in which he played for less than a minute.

From a development standpoint, the decision makes plenty of sense. Even with a solid camp, Holland would still likely be deep on the bench had he even made the NBA roster. That, in turn, would steal a roster spot from the likes of Ben Bentil, R.J. Hunter or James Young — individuals the Celtics have invested much more in.

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen

Picture this: Jonas Jerebko is joining a class with Shaquille O’Neal.

On Tuesday it was announced the Celtics forward bought the Renegades, an eSports team, which, for those unfamiliar, is essentially the major leagues of video games. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

O’Neal as well as former Celtic Rick Fox already have thrown their hat into the eSports ring, and though it won’t take Jerebko away from the court, it certainly is a 180 from how he spends his winter months.

Per ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Jerebko was going to buy the Renegades at the start of the calendar year but wanted to “seize the opportunity” to purchase the team immediately when he noticed there were four expiring contracts.

With his purchase, the 29-year-old also took on a “Call of Duty” team called Ground Zero and put that squad under the Renegades umbrella. Ground Zero will compete as part of the organization in the Call of Duty World League Championship at the beginning of September. Long term, Jerebko would like to continue to help the team grow and field a previously defunct “League of Legends,” “Halo” and “Overwatch” team as part of the Renegades.

The writing was on the wall for Jerebko to spring at this.

He first learned of the team while playing in the NBA summer league, when he met then-owner Christopher “Montecristo” Mykles, from whom he bought the team. He’s also been a team representative in the National Basketball Players Association and as such is familiar with negotiations and rights of players.

But there is a pretty high risk in investing in such a venture. The world of gaming is wildly disorganized, something that Jerebko is aware of but looking to change.

“The Call of Duty players we were negotiating with were under contract last year and weren’t getting paid for three to five months,” he said. “That’s not going to happen with me. You get a paycheck on time.

“There are some guys in this industry asking to do six-month contracts,” Jerebko said. “There isn’t stability in that.”

As a result, Jerebko will look to sign players for one year with an option for an additional year.

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen

R.J. Hunter

R.J. Hunter

R.J. Hunter should not be in the position he is in.

The incessant griping about the Celtics’ lack of perimeter shooting is justified, with there being few — if any — options both in the starting lineup and off the bench for reliable 3-point shooting.

However, Hunter, a first-round pick in 2015, is known for his shot, so this should be his wheelhouse. Instead, he’s on the fringe of making the final 15-man roster.

“It’s just spurts where it’s like, ‘Bro, what I am I doing wrong?’ ” Hunter said, speaking to MassLive.com on Saturday at the Basketball Hall of Fame. “And it’s nothing. You’re just on a really good team.”

Hunter brings up a good point. On most any other NBA team, Hunter would have been a much more heavily utilized asset, not the eight minutes per game player he was in his 36 NBA games last season. Conversely, the 22-year-old didn’t do himself many favors when given the opportunity from Brad Stevens to play.

The shooting guard shot a pedestrian 30.2 percent from 3, while putting together a 36.7 percent field goal percentage, totaling a 2.7 points per game total over the course of the season. As a result of the underwhelming performances, he found himself in the D-League for eight games during the middle of the season. While there he shot slightly worse from 3-point range than in the NBA, with a 29.6 percent mark, but ultimately averaged 13.8 points per game.

“At that point, it was just so completely mental,” he said. “I’m not going to lie, my ego got in the way of me making shots. It was almost like for me, whatever I do, I’m in the D-League, and if I don’t do well, it looks worse. And that’s just the wrong attitude to have instead of just going in there. When you have that mentality, now I’m rushing shots. I’m not finishing shots. I’m not really putting in preparation like I have to on every shot. That’s part of growing up, though — you’re in the league, and you’re caught up in it.”

And now with the slow going to enter the league, he finds himself in a precarious position that is simultaneously a life lesson on the business of basketball: competing against a friend.

Almost immediately when he came to the Celtics, Hunter befriended James Young and has grown close with him. Also struggling to earn a spot on the 15-man roster, Young conceivably could be the biggest roadblock in Hunter starting the season with the Celtics, and vice versa.

“It was awkward at first, because we clicked,” Hunter said. “It was like, ‘Oh, you like the same things I like.’ And then we just became homies, because we were always on the bench, or we were always working out together. We always shot together after practice. I think we both know what’s at stake, and we’re grown enough to put that aside. We all have our dreams and aspirations, but it’s bigger than just me against him. I think we both kind of know that.

“It’s weird with me and James. We’ve always competed for that spot since I touched down in Boston. It’s like ‘All right, it’s going to be me or you.’ Like, that’s such my homie. That’s the crazy thing about it. It’s part of the business, though.”

If Hunter can find his way and return to the form that saw him shoot a career 35.5 percent from 3 and 42.6 percent from the field in his three seasons in college at Georgia State, he could become a valuable asset off the bench.

What sets Hunter apart is the optimism that he can hit from deep, and the two people he needs to impress most — Stevens and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge — he has.

“Danny just told me a lot of the things he likes,” Hunter said. “‘You have long arms, great touch, great feel, if you really want to put your mind to this, you could be as good as you want to be.’ That’s coming from DA. Come on. What else do I need to hear? The same with Brad, Brad’s always been good about complimenting my game. … Just what they said about what future I have and how good I can be, it was super uplifting.”

Hunter has been busy this offseason, watching tape with ridiculous amounts of detail and narrowing down what he needs to improve. It starts with the basics, with his footwork being periodically off last season.

“Every close-out I’ve had, my feet were either too spaced or I’m not ready to slide and compete,” he said. “Footwork, that’s the control of your body, so it starts there. Working on that is just building my foundation.”

Time will tell for the second-year pro, with camp now less than a month away, but after a disappointing rookie campaign, things can only go up.

“I trust my game more than ever, I trust myself more than ever,” he said. “I saw so much I can implement, given a chance. I’m really excited about that.”

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen

Celtics owners Wyc Grousbeck and Steve Pagliuca joined Dennis & Callahan with Minihane during the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon on Tuesday and discussed the team’s attempt to lure Kevin Durant to Boston. To hear the interview, visit the D&C audio on demand page.

The Celtics were one of the finalists to land the 2014 MVP, and several players and front office members met with Durant in early July. Durant ultimately chose to join the Warriors, but Pagliuca said he believes his team was very close to grabbing him. 

“We put on a great presentation,” Pagliuca said. “The players did a fantastic job and Tom Brady helped us, I think we were very compelling. … We always hope for the best, and we prepare for otherwise, but I thought we had a really good shot at him.”

The Celtics got an assist at the meeting from Brady, form whom Durant has plenty of respect.

“He made a very compelling case how it’s so special to be able to play in Boston, the No. 1 sports town in America,” Pagliuca said. “Winning a championship in Boston is like nothing else, he made a very compelling presentation that I think really impressed Durant.”

Added Pagliuca: “Those are always very personal decisions by a player, so we really can’t get into their heads. But he would have been a great fit here for sure, and we were excited to have him up here. He’s a class act, I just got back from the Rio Olympics and he carried himself extremely well down there and won games with the team. We look forward to competing against him, he’s very close with Avery Bradley and I think we’re going to bother him defensively. We were one of the only teams to beat both Golden State and Cleveland on their own court last year. We were excited to play them.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Celtics news, visit the team page at weei.com/celtics.

Grousbeck on what it takes to bring star free agents to Boston: “I always felt like we could get them here if we made it a place where they thought they had a chance to win a ring. We want to be back in that contending position of winning a ring, we were wearing our rings in there when we were pitching Durant and his dad. Rings are really important, there’s tons of money in the NBA, you can get money in any city, but you can only get a ring in a couple of opportunities, a couple of places. We want to be one of those places, and then we’ll continue to attract people like [Hawks free agent center] Al Horford. He wants to come here because of the fans, because of the tradition, he wants to be part of the next Celtics championship. We’ve got to find some more people like that.”

Grousbeck on what coach Brad Stevens and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge have done with the team: “They have selected players that seem to fit a role, these young guys getting better, everybody’s hungry. And Al, he is a couple years older, but he’s a four-time All-Star and he’s still got a lot of juice, a lot to give left. It will be a great year, and we’ll build from there with these Brooklyn picks.”

Pagliuca on how the team will respond if players follow NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s lead and sit through the national anthem: “Our players are very respectful and we’re very respectful, we’ll cross any kind of bridge when we come to it. We’re really happy with our team and how they purport themselves. I think we have a great group of young individuals.”

Blog Author: 
Nicholas Frazier